Residents plan to fix Park Beach

PARK Beach residents have vented their collective frustration at crime and trouble in their neighbourhood and now the fix-up plan has begun.

The real resolve to come out of Tuesday night’s packed public meeting was a mutual appreciation for the beachside suburb and strategies to see it realise its potential through change.

Possibly the biggest applause on the night was reserved for the suggestion that misguided youths need to have a sense of pride in their community.

How to achieve this dominated the two-hour discussion at the Park Beach Bowling Club, as almost 200 residents spoke about the problems, which have forced the community to band together.

Alcohol was highlighted as an underlining factor behind the anti-social problems. Although, chair of the meeting Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser said: “This is not meant to be a bash fest of pubs and clubs”.

“Together we need to react collectively to crime, it needs a joint approach involving you the residents, council, police and government,” Mr Fraser said.

Coffs Harbour mayor Keith Rhoades spoke of council’s ongoing commitment to Park Beach, including plans to invest $200,000 in public amenities from residual developer contributions.

“We all need to work together here, the key is don’t think someone else has reported crime, we need to sit back, observe and ring police,” Cr Rhoades said.

The floor was then opened to Park Beach business owners, accommodation providers, residents and taxi drivers, who gave first-hand accounts of vandalism and alcohol-related crime.

Moteliers said it’s imperative that something is done quickly, given Park Beach is the face of Coffs Harbour to many visitors and tourists.

Real estate agents came under fire “for not finding quality tenants for rentals”.

One store owner said he rang police almost daily, and that businesses are now compiling databases of young offenders from closed circuit security vision.

Repeated questions were asked about the parental supervision of young offenders.

While countless personal stories and accounts of public drunkenness, graffiti, late night brawls, break and enters and needless vandalism were shared.

Possibly the strongest point that came out of the meeting, was that the problems Park Beach is facing are endemic across Australia.

The only difference is that this suburb is prepared to take action.

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